Art theft

Birthday heist: Van Gogh painting stolen from Dutch museum on anniversary of artist's birth

The Singer Laren museum in the Netherlands is currently on lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic

Vincent van Gogh's The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring (1884) © Groninger Museum, on loan from Municipality of Groningen

Thieves have broken into the Singer Laren museum in the Netherlands and stolen a painting by Vincent van Gogh. The robbery took place in the early hours of this morning, on what would have been the artist’s 167th birthday.

The museum in the Dutch town of Laren has been closed for several days because of the coronavirus shutdown. The stolen painting, an oil on paper on panel work called The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring (1884), was on loan from the Groninger Museum in Groningen. It is the only painting by Van Gogh in the Groninger Museum’s collection, the museum says in a statement on its website.

“The Groninger Museum is shocked by the news,” the statement adds. “Because of the police investigation, [the museum] must decline further comment on the matter.”

The Singer Laren is a private museum built to house the collection of William and Anna Singer, which specialises in art from 1880 to 1950 and includes works Kees van Dongen and Auguste Rodin.

Dutch media reports cited police as saying that the thieves smashed a glass door at the front of the building, setting off the alarm, and that the break-in occurred at about 3.15am.

• For an analysis on this theft and past Van Gogh works stolen in the Netherlands read Martin Bailey's blog post in his Adventures with Van Gogh series